It had to be done. Dan was from the USA; Jacquetta and the Twins had never been there. This is the story of our trip to America.
To make a long story short: we flew from England to California, stayed San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Mendocino County, Yosemite, and San Francisco, driving a thousand miles between them... then flew home to England by way of Dan's hometown in Illinois. Overall, we were in the USA for 31 days, spanning July and August, 1999.
There's a page here describing each of these destinations, with a few photos for each. At the bottom of each page you'll find a link to the next one, so you can make the journey yourself, a bit faster than 31 days.
Before you do, allow me to introduce the cast of characters.
Friday, July 23: After a long evening of making final preparations, we got up early and left the house in Weybridge (England) at 6:30 AM in order to catch our San Francisco flight out Heathrow. For most of us, it was the longest flight ever... we were worried about both the flight and the jet lag.
The flight took us along the Great Circle route, north across Scotland, past Iceland, over Greenland (photo on the left; I guess the Vikings were colorblind)... down over Hudson Bay, and onward over Manitoba and Montana into the USA.
Upon arrival in San Francisco, the first American we met was the customs guy. He was perhaps the rudest one I've met in hundreds of overseas flights... grumbling, impatient, a terrible ambassador. Come to think of it, it's the first time I've gone through the "All Others" line instead of the "US Citizens" line. Makes me wonder if the "Others" guys are all like that.
The San Francisco airport was crowded and hot... the air conditioning had failed. But things were getting better.
We boarded our connecting flight to San Diego.